A survivor of a 2021 school shooting impressed the judges of NBC’s America’s Got Talent with a powerful rendition of Lauren Daigle’s Remember on an episode of the talent competition show that aired last week.
Ava Swiss, an 18-year-old senior at Oxford High School in Mich., was a survivor of a mass shooting in November that killed four and injured seven others, including a teacher.
Swiss received a standing ovation from the audience and four “yes” votes from the tough-to-please panel of judges, advancing to the next round.
“It took my breath away. It was beautiful,” said Sofía Vergara, one of the judges. “… It gave me goosebumps.”
“I think you are gutsy. I really, really do,” judge Simon Cowell said. “… This is one of those auditions I’ll never forget. I really have so much respect for you. On top of that, you’ve got a great voice.”
— America’s Got Talent (@AGT) July 27, 2022
The lyrics reference the comfort God brings during tragedy: “In the darkest hour when I cannot breathe; fear is on my chest, the weight of the world on me; everything is crashing down, everything I had known; when I wonder if I’m all alone; I remember, I remember; You have always been faithful to me.”
During her interview with the judges, Swiss acknowledged the emotional pain she’s faced – “it’s been hard” – but said music has helped her cope.
“When I sing it, I remember the good. I remember my community, my family – just the love. And I remember that it’s all there for me, and it’ll help me get to where I need to be. And so that’s why I’m so grateful,” she said. “I’m able to be here today, and I can share it with more people than I ever thought I could.”
Judge Howie Mandel also was impressed.
“In life, it’s tough to show up – especially after going through incredible trauma,” he said. “The fact that you can break through that and shine the way you did today is so inspirational for every human being. … That was wonderful. Thank you.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Nagaiets
Video courtesy: ©America’s Got Talent
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.